TUPELO, Mississippi. A recent investigative report by ProPublica found that police officers across the country routinely use a $2 roadside drug test which is known to regularly produce false positives. Officers and prosecutors, based on false positive results, can charge individuals with felony possession charges, and individuals may not always know how to defend themselves, even when they are innocent. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to seek qualified legal counsel. While you are entitled to a free public defender under the law, public defenders may be overworked and overburdened, and their resources are often limited. Too frequently, individuals are instructed to plead guilty, even if they are innocent. When your future, your reputation, and your criminal record is at stake, you need a qualified criminal defense lawyer on your side. The Bryson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. understands the limitations of roadside testing and can bring to bear our legal resources to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
According to ProPublica, 1.2 million people every year are arrested for illegal drug possession. During these arrests, many officers use $2 roadside kits, technology which dates back to the early 70’s. In fact, the tests can often produce false positives. Household cleaners, when found, tested and improperly identified, can lead to felony charges. It is difficult to determine exactly how often the tests produce false results, but in one investigation, as many as 33% of the results were false positives. In fact, even in the late 70’s the Department of Justice had found that the lab tests should not be admissible in court, but needed to be confirmed with secondary testing. The reality is that prosecutors and officers use these flawed tests every day to both arrest and convict individuals of possession charges—with devastating consequences to the lives affected and their communities.
Many individuals charged with felony drug possession take plea deals at the urging of their public defenders. They may not always be aware of the evidence against them or whether this evidence is valid or even strong. According to the American Bar Association, there are alternatives besides plea bargaining that can also be used, such as diversion programs, which allow individuals to choose probation over jail time. The fact that these roadside tests are used in many cases where individuals took plea deals, raises serious questions about whether plea deals are just. According to ProPublica, as many as 100,000 people plead guilty to drug charges that use flawed tests as evidence.
The consequences of a felony drug charge are immense. Individuals who are wrongly convicted have trouble finding work, finding housing, and may have difficulties accessing public federal aid or other benefits. Convictions can follow a person for the rest of their life. If you’re facing criminal drug possession charges, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you. Visit http://www.brysonlawfirmpllc.com today to learn more and to protect your rights.